United Methodists Remove Active Lesbian from Ministry

Wed Nov 2, 2005 - 12:15 pm EST

By Hilary White

HOUSTON, November 2, 2005 ( - The United Methodist Church, has “defrocked” a lesbian minister who admitted from the pulpit to being in an active lesbian relationship with her live-in partner. Irene Stroud has been removed from ministry by the highest judicial court of the denomination, the Judicial Council, that reiterated the denomination’s ban on “self-avowed, practicing homosexuals” in the clergy.

The court decision upheld a local church panel decision that Stroud had engaged in practices that are “incompatible with Christian teachings” by being in a lesbian partnership. An appeals committee had overturned the panel decision but the Judicial Council has now backed the original ruling.

The seven member Judicial Council decided not to hear arguments that the scriptural basis for the church’s objection to active homosexual behavior was “unclear.”

The Council ruled that no discrimination was involved in removing Stroud from ministry. The denomination, it said, ordains those with homosexual inclinations but requires that they remain celibate.

Stroud had been the assistant pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Germantown PA, and was responsible for Christian education programs including the senior high school youth group, confirmation classes, and the church’s Bible study program.

The website of the United Methodist Church says that the church “does not condone the practice of homosexuality and considers this practice incompatible with Christian teaching.”

The First United Church of Georgetown PA., however, has a large section on its website praising Stroud and supporting her adherence to the homosexual lifestyle. The site includes a link to her “coming out sermon.” The FAQ page on the site includes, “Does the Beth Stroud Legal Defense Fund have sufficient funds to cover appeal expenses?” and “How do you talk to conservatives?”

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